Dr. David Lavery is Director of Graduate Studies and Professor in the English Department at MTSU (1993- ). The recipient of the University's 2006 Distinguished Research Award, he is the author of over one hundred and fifty published essays, chapters, and reviews, he is author / co-author / editor / co-editor of over twenty books, including Joss Whedon, A Creative Portrait: From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Avengers, TV Goes to Hell: An Unofficial Road Map of Supernatural, The Essential Cult Television Reader, and The Essential Sopranos Reader. The co-convener of international conferences on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the work of Joss Whedon and on The Sopranos, co-founder of the Whedon Studies Association, and founding co-editor of the journals Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies, Critical Studies in Television, and Series/Season/Show, he has lectured around the world on the subject of television (Australia, Turkey, the UK, Portugal, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany) and has been a guest/source for the BBC, NPR, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The New York Times, A Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil), Publica (Portugal), Information (Netherlands), AP, The Toronto Star, USA Today. From 2006-2008, he taught at Brunel University in London.
Essays: (1) An essay at least 1,000 words in length dissecting/reading/interpreting a popular culture personality, artist, text, genre, series, episode, movie, place, product, icon, meme, etc.: worth 20% of your grade [20% of your grade]; (2) A source paper at least 1500 words in length on a popular culture phenomenon approved by me [30% of your grade].
Tests: A take-home essay final exam [20% of your grade].
Class Participation [10% of your grade].
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Class format: We will follow a lecture / discussion format during most class meetings. Manuscript form: All written assignments are to be submitted via the relevant D2L drop boxes. Please be sure to carefully edit and proofread your own work. Name the file with your own last name (for example: lavery.doc). Be sure to carefully edit and proofread your own work. Do not simply rely on your computer's spell checker. (Go here to read a poem that demonstrates the untrustworthiness of spell checkers.) A list of "Things to be Aware of" as you write your essays can be found here. Essay Evaluation: I will evaluate your essays using a grading scale which can be found here (PDF file, Acrobat Reader required). Reading assignments: You are responsible for having read the entirety of each assignment, including the editor's introduction to each work/author we are studying. Participation & involvement: Please come prepared for each day’s class. I encourage you to become an active participant in class discussion and to ask constructive and meaningful questions at all times—even when I appear to be "lecturing." Please do not save your best questions / comments for after class, as students so often do. Attendance: Regular attendance is essential to the ongoing progress of the course. Two absences will be permitted. A third absence may result in the loss of a letter grade. A fourth absence may result in failure of the course. Cell Phones/Computers Use of cell phones during classs is strictly forbidden. Use of lap tops/netbooks/tablets (for note-taking purposes exclusively) is allowedonly if prior permission is secured from me. Inclement Weather Policy: Go here. Plagiarism / Cheating: The unacknowledged use of the words / ideas / insights / original research of another is, of course, prohibited. Do not assume that, like prominent historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Stephen Ambrose and journalist Fareed Zakaria, you may plagiarize without fear of punishment. Should I catch you plagiarizing, or cheating in any way, you will receive a grade of "0" on the assignment in question, the violation may be reported to University authorities, and you may fail the course, as several students in past semesters have done. Students with Disabilities: Any student with a disability will be given all the rights and privileges guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act if he/she is registered with Disabled Student Services (call/contact John Harris, KUC 120/2783). University Writing Center: The University Writing Center, sponsored by the English Department and staffed by full-time and adjunct faculty and graduate teaching assistants, is located in Room 362 of the Walker Library. At the UWC you can get constructive help with a variety of writing problems, from pre-writing to organization to grammatical errors. (Please be aware, however, that the UWC does not do proofreading.) Grading Scale: 90-99%=A | 80-89%=B | 70-79%=C | 60-69%=D | 0-59%=F
Allusions and TV America Roland Barthes Binge Viewing Bleeping Stephen Colbert Cult Media Doctor Who Everything Bad is Good for You Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Feminism and PC FanFic The Firesign Theatre Gandhi and Popular Culture Geico Ads Going Viral Hyatt, the Perfect World Icons Louis CK Mad Men Major Figures in the Study of Popular Culture Marxism and Popular Culture Memes The Most Interesting Man in the World The Movies The Onion and Mean Humor Parody The People of Wal-Mart Pop Culture Areas & Subjects Pop Culture Methods Postmodernism Psychoanalysis and Popular Culture Semiotics Spoilers Spreadable Media Superheroes Teleparody Thinking Inside the Box Twin Peaks/The X-Files The Urban Dictionary Vampires Velveeta Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me Zombies
8/27/13: Introduction to the Course: Popular Signs: Or, Everything You Always Knew about American Culture (but Nobody Asked)
8/29/13: Introduction to the Course (continued)
9/3/5: Ways of Seeing (art historian John Berger's BBC Documentary)
9/5/13: Ways of Seeing (continued)
9/10/13: Consuming Passions: The Culture of American Consumption
9/12/13: Consuming Passions: The Culture of American Consumption (continued)
9/17/13: Consuming Passions: The Culture of American Consumption (continued)
9/19/13: Consuming Passions: The Culture of American Consumption (continued)
9/24/13: Brought to You B(u)y: The Signs of Adverting
9/26/13: Brought to You B(u)y: The Signs of Adverting (continued)
10/1/13: Brought to You B(u)y: The Signs of Adverting (continued)
10/3/13: Video Dreams: Television, Music, and Cultural Forms
10/8/13: Video Dreams: Television, Music, and Cultural Forms (continued)
10/10/13: Video Dreams: Television, Music, and Cultural Forms (continued)
10/12-15/2013: Fall Break
10/17/13: Video Dreams: Television, Music, and Cultural Forms (continued)
10/22/13: The Hollywood Sign: The Culture of American Film
10.24/13: The Hollywood Sign: The Culture of American Film (continued)
10/29/13: The Hollywood Sign: The Culture of American Film (continued)
10/31/13: The Hollywood Sign: The Culture of American Film (continued)
11/5/13: You-Topian Dreams: Semiotics and the New Media
11/7/13: You-Topian Dreams: Semiotics and the New Media (continued)
11/12/13: You-Topian Dreams: Semiotics and the New Media (continued)
11/14/13: You-Topian Dreams: Semiotics and the New Media (continued)
11/19/13: American Paradox: Culture, Conflict, and Contradiction in the USA
11/21/13: American Paradox: Culture, Conflict, and Contradiction in the USA (continued)
11/26/13: American Makeover: Constructing Identity in the Age of Entertainment
11/28/2013: Thanksgiving (No Class)
12/3/13: American Makeover: Constructing Identity in the Age of Entertainment (continued)
12/5 Study Day
Final Exam Week—12/6-12/2013